Monday, February 28, 2011

New Drew DMIN Cohort forming in San Francisco--focused on Shalom

I'm pleased to share with you that Drew University is offering a new Doctor of Ministry program focused on Congregational Growth and Community Development: Theology and Practice of Shalom.  A new cohort is forming in San Francisco at Glide UMC beginning in the Fall 2011.  Take a look: Drew DMIN in SF

San Francisco Regional Group

Is a Drew University DMIN in your future?

Drew’s San Francisco Area Doctor of Ministry Regional Concentration
Congregational Growth and Community Development Concentration: Theology and Practice of Shalom

This concentration has been carefully designed to assist pastors in renewing the spirit of God in communities and congregations through a theologically-informed praxis for congregational growth and community development with integrity. The focus will be on: strengthening relationships among neighbors, improving community health care and coordination of services, developing the prosperity and economies of communities, fostering a grounded theology in biblical and historical models of church growth, gaining skills in using a prophetic approach to leadership, conducting an in-depth analysis of the community and congregation, and creating a plan for growth and asset-based community development with the leadership of congregations.

The Congregational Growth and Community Development concentration consists of three core courses attentive to:
  • Developing theological approaches to the practice of ministry
  • Reflecting on a prophetic style of ministerial leadership
  • Analyzing your community and congregation to prepare for congregational growth
  • Creating a plan for your congregation’s growth and community development
CONCD 971 Theology and Practice of Shalom (3 credits)
This doctoral level seminar requires a disciplined focuses on the many nuances and facets of the inspiring Judeo-Christian-Muslim concept of Shalom/Salaam/Peace—which can mean community well-being, health, harmony, wholeness, welfare, prosperity and peace–as used by interpreters of Jeremiah 29: 7 in the Bible: “Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom you will find your shalom.” Together, we will develop a community theology and practice of shalom through 1) the study of the prophetic tradition in scripture; 2) listening to contemporary voices and experiences of shalom; 3) critically reflecting on our own experience in community organizing and development; and 4) deep reading and discussion on the topic. We also will learn and apply a postmodern, narrative theological method of community assessment and apply it to the students’ local ministry contexts.
Instructor: Michael J. Christensen Fall 2011; two 3-day sessions; 10/24-26 and 11/28-30, 2011

CONCD 913 Prophetic Leadership in the Congregation and Community (3 credits)
Prophetic leadership is required for ministries of peace and justice in the congregation and community. According to Walter Brueggemann, only God can call someone as a prophet, but we can ourselves be prophetic in service to God. The prophet is called and calls others to discern the signs of the times, and act boldly for the good of the community. “The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us” (Prophetic Imagination). For the purposes of this advanced seminar in pastoral theology and ministerial formation, a prophetic leader is a person of faith who feels a deep call to be prophetic in a particular situation, time and place; understands the biblical prophetic tradition; insightfully analyzes the present situation; imagines and projects possible futures; and seeks shalom and justice in the congregation and community of which he or she is a part. This seminar interprets and applies these five components of prophetic leadership in contemporary congregational and community contexts: 1) Prophetic Calling; 2) Knowing the Tradition; 3) Interpreting the Present Situation; 4) Projecting the Future; and 5) Seeking Justice.
Instructor: Karen Oliveto.  JanTerm 2012; one week

CONCD 923 Asset-Based Community Development (3 credits)
Originally developed by the School of Social Work at Northwestern University, the ABCD approach to community development focuses on strengths rather than deficiencies of a particular community, prioritizes a resource assessment rather than a traditional needs assessment, and utilizes community asset-mapping and coalition building strategies for comprehensive planning in community development. Content units of the course include:
  • History and biblical bases for shalom ministries
  • Six Threads of Shalom to re-weave communities
  • Stepping Up to Shalom: from social services to community development
  • Steps in seeking systemic change for shalom
  • Strategic planning and practical futuring
  • Congregational-Community partnerships
  • Seeking spiritual growth and faith development
  • Understanding and strengthening multicultural relationships
  • Community economic development
  • Introduction to community organizing
  • Fund-raising and Financial sustainability
  • Public Relations, Case Statements and telling your organizational story
  • Community Asset Mapping
  • Defining and developing this practices in the congregation and community
Instructors: J.P. Duncan and selected experts in specific areas of training.  Spring 2012; two 3-day sessions
CONCD 980 Methods
Prepares students for the Professional Project and Thesis. Introduces research tools and methodologies appropriate for D.Min. projects. Assists students in developing an initial Topic Outline for the professional project. Instructor: TBA, July 16- Aug 3, 2012
General Requirements
The DMIN degree at Drew is open to ministerial leaders who have:
  • M.Div. from ATS accredited institution (equivalent graduate theological education will be considered)
  • Three years or more of practice of ministry after one’s first theological degree
  • Recognized ministry assignment at time of admission
  • Strong record of effective leadership in the practice of ministry
  • Evidence of academic ability (a 3.2 GPA)
  • Capacity for critical theological reflection and writing
  • TOEFL scores of 570 (computer-based 230) must be submitted by those for whom English is not their first language
Degree Completion
Successful candidates will have completed 30 credit hours including:
  • 3 core course, 2 electives, and Methods for Ministry
  • Design, implementation, evaluation and description of professional project
  • Approval and defense of doctoral thesis based on project
Tuition and Other Costs
  • Currently $466 per credit hour or approximately $1,400/course
  • Estimated cost for text books and tools: $750
  • Housing at venue site
  • Travel and meals
  • Reasonably priced dormitory style housing for on campus summer session.
To Apply Contact:
Dr. Kevin Miller, Director of Theological Admissions
973/408-3111 or visit
Application Deadline: July 1, 2011
Apply online
For additional program information: Dr. Carl Savage, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program

For more information on Drew's Doctor of Ministry Program: 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Marks of a New Monasticism

Hosting Shane Claiborne at Drew this week was our second in a series of Prophetic Leaders on Campus, and the third year of our Prophetic Leaders in Residence program made possible by a grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund and presented by Communities of Shalom.

The purpose of the 3-year grant from Jessie Ball DuPont is to send Drew into world and bring the world to Drew.  Which we do by sending students out to Shalom Zones and prophetic ministry sites during the summer; and bringing prophetic leaders to campus during the year.
Shane Claiborne is a Christian Activist, Global Peacemaker, popular writer and speaker, and Urban Monk (well, I’m not exactly sure about the urban monk identity given that Shane is now engaged)…but in neo-monasticism, you don’t have to remain single, nor do you have to be married to be a whole person, called and chosen as the beloved of God.

I first met Shane 10 years ago at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina….at an Evangelism Conference where Len Sweet, Shane and I were speaking.  I was impressed then, as well as now, with his gift of prophetic imagination and anointing; and his call for the Church to be resurrected. 

A number of years ago, when I tried to get my teenage daughter to read Christian books, I couldn’t find any she would read at the time. I took a chance and bought her The Irresistible Revolution.  She couldn’t resist its message or its author, and so I bought her Jesus for President before the last election. (She told me Shane spoke at her college last year; she introduced herself, and told me Shane remembered me as the Methodist that prayed with icons…. Which I took as a compliment.)

Shane studied sociology with Professor Tony Campolo at Eastern University, theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Compassion with Mother Teresa at the University of the Streets in Calcultta.  He is a Founding member of The Simple Way—a prototype in a radical grassroots movement within the North American church which often is referred to as a “new monasticism” about which he will speak about tonight.

The notion of “neo-monasticism” was developed by Jonathan Wilson in his 1998 book called Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World.[3] It is inspired by the vision of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said in 1935: “the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ”[4]
Shane's is one of the voices in the new monastic movement, of which The Simple Way is but one example.  He is the author of “The Irresistible Revolution”, “Jesus for President”,  "Iraq Journal", "Follow Me to Freedom", "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers", and "Liturgies for Ordinary Radicals."

His Prophetic Leadership presentation at Drew this week on "Resurrecting Church" highlighted the so-called "12 Marks of New Monasticism", namely:

1.  Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.
2.  Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.
3.  Hospitality to the stranger.
4.  Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.
5.  Humble submission to Chirst’s body, the church.
6.  Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.
7.  Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.
8.  Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.
9.  Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.
10.  Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economics.
11.  Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.
12.  Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.

These 12 Marks, developed by participants in the movement, are published in “School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism” edited by The Rutba House.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jesus for President

“Jesus seeks to form a new kind of people, a different kind of party [revolution], whose peculiar politics [identity] are embodied in who we are.  The church is a people called out of the world to embody a social alternative that the world cannot know on its own terms.  We are not simply asking the government to be what God has commissioned the church to be.  After all, the government cannot legislate love… The church is not simply suggesting political [radical] alternatives.  The church is embodying one.---Shane Claiborne, “Jesus for President”

The "Jesus for President" rally at Drew Theological School with Shane Claiborne on February 22 was intended to be provocative.  During this divisive time in American politics, with Republicans and Democrats vying for power and position, pushing their own agendas rather than the common good, slashing budgets and fighting about how to deal with and dice up Mammon…we need some 'Red Letter' Christians to ask the Mother of all questions:  What Would Jesus Do if Jesus were in our shoes?

During this time of political meanness and positioning over budget cuts and self-interest, we need prophetic leaders to stand up to the Principalities and Powers in Corporate America, in Congress, in the Administration (as well as point the figure at us) and boldly ask:
  • ·       What Would Jesus Cut?
  • ·       Who Would Jesus Torture?
  • ·       Who Would Jesus Bomb?
  • ·       What Car would Jesus Drive?
  • ·       And even…What hairdo would Jesus do?  (Shane has dreadlocks)
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…a promoter of Jesus for President,   a prophet from the Great State of Tennessee…Mr. Shane Claiborne!"--is how I introduced him.  Although it was done light-heartedly and with tongue in cheek, Shane's radical politics and biblical platform for Jesus included: 
  • a consistent pro-life ethic
  • celibacy in singleness and monagomy in marriage
  • a place for same-gender loving people in the church
  • simplicity of lifestyle and contributing to a common community purse
  • identification with the homeless Jesus, who said "Foxes have holes, the birds of air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
  • commitment to live and work and play among the poor and oppressed
  • non-violent, active resistance to war and violence
  • prophetic leadership, even when it means being a 'fool for Christ'.
Some have called 'the simple way' of Jesus that Shane espouses as a "new monastic movment"-- intentional Christian communities of urban monks springing up in many places as part of a new Reformation of 'resurrecting Church'.

The 'Jesus for President' rally posed the right questions for provoking discussion on how to, in Shane's words, 'resurrect the Church' and 'become the answer to our prayers.'
 one of Shane's articles:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Shane Claiborne at Drew

Shane Claiborne at Drew
Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011

Shane Claiborne--Christian Activist, Urban Peacemaker, Founding member of The Simple Way and author of “The Irresistible Revolution” and “Jesus for President” to Speak at Drew University for

CHAPEL SERVICE  “Living as Ordinary Radicals” with Litany of  Resistance
Tuesday, Feb 22, 11:15 a.m. – Noon
Craig Chapel

LUNCH BOOK DISCUSSION   on “Jesus for President” 
12 - 1:15 p.m.
Seminary Hall Atrium

SHALOM RECEPTION for students, faculty and friends
6:30 - 7 p.m.
Seminary Hall Atrium

Prophetic Leadership EVENING LECTURE   “Resurrecting Church: Marks of a New Monasticism” with a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
7:15 – 9:00 p.m.
Craig Chapel

To Register for the Lunchtime Book Discussion, email before Feb. 18 
All are welcome for Chapel and Evening Lecture
For more information contact or Renee at

Presented by Prophetic Leaders-in-Residence Program
Sponsored by Communities of Shalom Resource Center

Drew University Theological School
36 Madison Ave.
Madison, New Jersey 07940

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

State of Shalom 2010

State of Shalom:  A Three Year Summary of Shalom at Drew
By Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D., National Director, Communities of Shalom, Drew University

December 31, 2010, marked the completion of three full years of having the National Shalom Resource Center at Drew Theological School.  For each of these three years, the focus of the Shalom Initiative has been on the following priorities and activities:

2008Consolidating the movement, visiting sites, creating a database of sites and coordinators, offering technical and relational support, raising the profile of Communities of Shalom (Cof S) through UMC Annual Conferences, special events and at interfaith settings; strategic planning for the future of Shalom (Five-Year Plan 2012); and launching a Shalom Summer Internship program and a “Prophetic Leaders in Residence” program at Drew to “bring the world to Drew and send Drew into the world.”

2009Promoting Shalom Sites (locally, nationally and internationally), moving from an Annual Conference to a regional structure, building capacity for regional training and local funding through national resourcing, and expanding the movement through a National Shalom Summit in South Carolina (which brought 275 participants together from 26 States, representing many of the 100+ shalom sites in the USA. This number was in addition to some 400 “hits” from people who tuned in to all or some of the sessions broadcast on the internet). Our partner, GBGM, produced and mailed a promotional brochure to 36,000 UM churches offering training and soliciting national support.

2010Developing ShalomZone Training® by creating new EPIC[1] training materials that embody historic goals, new strategic threads[2], and three priorities of Shalom at Drew.[3]  Six national trainers were brought together to review historic training manuals and develop a new 7-session, 42-contact hour, 7-month training program and follow-up units, complete with a Participants Workbook, Leaders’ Guide, and an online “Tool Box” of Shalom resources (including links, clips, PPTs, images, outlines, exercises, content presentations, and a variety of teaching methods).  The new ShalomZone Training ® is projected to be available to regional trainers and participants in April 2011.

Shalom is Still on the Loose

Dean Maxine Clark Beach brought CoS to Drew in January 2008.  Formerly housed at the UM General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) in New York, Shalom found a new home base at Drew for its 78 community development sites—known as “shalom zones.”  After 12 years as DMIN Director, I was asked to give leadership to the Shalom Initiative when it came to Drew.  Dean Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, replacing Dean Beach, is the new Convener of the National Shalom Committee.

The National Shalom Committee is the United Methodist body that guides the vision and mission of Communities of Shalom as a denominational initiative residing now at Drew and extending itself beyond Methodism in the world.  The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), which provided over $800,000 in initial funding for the Shalom initiative, continues to raise seed grants for shalom sites through its Advance Office in New York.  The National Shalom Committee, chaired by Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, continues to promote the Shalom brand globally, develop new training materials, find new funding sources, and certify Shalom sites.   Dr. Chris Boesel and Rev. Tanya Bennett represent Drew faculty on the National Committee.  My administrative assistant is Peggy Grow.  Annie Allen, MPA, MDIV, serves full-time as coordinator of Shalom Training and Drew’s summer internship program.  Three other national trainers plus 7 regional trainers comprise the Shalom training team.  Three Drew graduate students work as technologists managing the database and online presence of CoS on FaceBook, Twitter and our public website:

Since coming to Drew, Cof S moved from being a national denominational program to an international ecumenical resource and deployment center for prophetic leadership and community development.  The movement grew from 78 to 135 sites, and expanded, deepened and developed over the past three years; and Shalom is starting to bear good fruit.  

On January 1, 2008, 78 Communities of Shalom migrated from the General Board of Global Ministries in New York to their new home base at Drew Theological School.  Since then, we’ve trained, reactivated and added 57 new sites for a total of 135 in the USA, Africa and Haiti. 

Mayor Robert Reichert of Macon, GA. became the first American Mayor to initiate CoS in his city.  The Mayor’s Office, with the help of Drew summer intern Dawrell Rich, organized six shalom teams in six neighborhoods in need of community development.  

Rev. Tanya Bennett represents Communities of Shalom on the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace.  One of the spin off ministries of this coalition is Nine Strong Women—a grass-roots mentoring work with young women (13-16 years of age)--led by Jayda Jacques, a member of the Bloods gang who is committed to engaging gang culture to reduce youth violence in Newark.  

President Robert Duncan of Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, proposed to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) that they be granted permission to use the CoS training model to train their sports teams in a more systematic and transformative approach to civic engagement, character development, and community development  than was previously represented in their historic approach to community service.  The NAIA approved a pilot program for Bacone College, requesting that a full report be presented at a future national conference of the Association.  

Local Shalom teams can be found in 26 States and six countries following their mandate to “seek the shalom of the city” where they have been sent (Jeremiah 29:7).  Weaving the threads of shalom in frazzled communities with hidden assets, ministers of shalom are involved in “transforming the world, one community at a time.”   See for more information about what some of the 135 shalom teams are doing in the world.


The Jessie Ball duPont Fund provided stipends for 12 MDIV students to participate in Drew’s Summer Internship program for 2010, and to explore a calling to social justice ministry in the community. They were assigned to Shalom sites in Buffalo, NY, Montclair, NJ, Spokane, WA, Pharr, TX, Dallas, Los Angeles, Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, Mizak, Haiti, and Mzuzu, Malawi.  Student interns worked 40 hours per week for 4-10 weeks in community settings, and participated in online class discussions, site supervision, theological reflection with a mentor, and consultations with instructors who did site visits during the placement.  Some met their supervised ministry or cross-cultural requirement in this way.   Since 2008, a total of 30 Shalom interns have been trained in community organizing and community development through the summer internship program, and are now practicing “Ministers of Shalom.”


Three new academic courses were designed and offered over the past three years from the Shalom Initiative:  1) Theology and Practice of Shalom, 2) Prophetic Leadership in the Congregation and Community, and 3) Asset-Based Community Development.  MDIV students can take these courses from time to time, and DMIN students can earn a 3-year degree in Congregational and Community Development focused on asset-based community development (ABCD).   Ten urban pastors from multiple denominations, plus an executive in the Episcopal Church, enrolled in the new Doctor of Ministry program at Drew in 2010.  At Dean Jeffrey Kuan’s initiative, a second DMIN class focused on community development is being recruited in the San Francisco Bay Area, to be offered at Glide United Methodist Church in the Fall.

Bearing Fruit

In our efforts to consolidate the movement nationally, promote shalom sites globally, and develop a new, quality, ShalomZone Training® product, the Shalom Initiative is bearing good fruit within Methodism and beyond.  Communities of Shalom caught some public attention this year through local news media, city governments, federal agencies, and national partners, and are positioned to move into new frontiers in the years ahead. 

Learning from and growing after a successful National Summit in 2009 in Columbia, SC, we are preparing for an International Shalom Summit in 2012 in Los Angeles—the birthplace of Communities of Shalom twenty years ago. 

As National Director, I am on the road much of the time nurturing the network, working with national partners, representing Drew and helping the Advancement Office fund Shalom for the long-term.   Annie Allen and I often are invited to speak at churches, seminaries, conferences, and community groups about the theology and practice of Shalom and how to apply for training.

Bishop John Schol, Chair of the National Shalom Committee, closed our September meeting in Chicago by stating:  “In just three years, we have leveraged 1.7 million dollars for faith-inspired community development work in the USA and Africa. We started or re-activated 57 new Shalom sites for a total of 135, representing over 1,350 people involved in the Shalom movement.  We’ve trained, commissioned and sent 30 student interns to 20 sites, and impacted thousands of residents in the places where Communities of Shalom has taken root.   Let us give thanks.”

[1] Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven, and Connective (Leonard Sweet’s postmodern approach to pedagogy, worship and evangelism).
[2] The historic goals and strategies have now been integrated into Six Strategic Threads with which shalom teams re-weave the fabric of community:  And the way to remember them is to spell SHALOM:
·         Systemic change
·         Health and wholeness
·         Asset-based community development
·         Love God, self and neighbor
·         Organize the community
·         Multicultural collaboration
[3]  Three priorities of Shalom at Drew: 1) greening Shalom; 2) interfaithing sites; and 3) internationalizing the network.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

New Jersey-based group digs wells to fight disease and malnutrition in Malawi

WorldHope Corps has facilitated and installed a total of 12 village wells in Malawi since 2007 (3 in 2010).  Currently, we have five sponsors lined up for the next five deep water wells for 2011.   Only 3 more to go before reaching our goal and promise to install 20 wells in northern Malawi in villages that do not have a clean water source.

Here's an article that describes our Village Well program:
New Jersey-based group digs wells to fight disease and malnutrition in Malawi

Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring a new well or contributing to the WorldHope Corps Village Well Fund.  

Michael Christensen, Founder and CEO
WorldHope Corps, Inc.